I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll be saying it again shortly: Publishing nude photos of someone without their consent is sexualised violence. It doesn’t matter if its Prince Harry, Kate Middleton or Paris Hilton. This is an issue of consent not free speech. Freedom of speech is not the right to be a jackass. It is not the right to do something just because you can. We need to stop buying into the discourse that free speech is more important than anything else. Supporting free speech in this manner only serves to perpetuate rape culture.
This is what I wrote when this same discussion came up several weeks ago but with Prince Harry as the object:
Publishing photos of people either naked or in other sexually compromising positions is sexualised violence. This should apply as equally to bucketheaded princes as it does to vulnerable 17 year olds. And, the media aren’t the only ones responsible for perpetuating this sexualised violence. Every time ordinary people google these images, they are buying into and feeding the sexual exploitation industry and helping to increase the number of sexually exploited people. The whole reality television and “celeb” magazines industry need to die. Today. People need to stop financially supporting the sexualised violence of others. This serves only to feed rape culture.
Whilst I think Prince Harry was a victim of sexualised violence, I do think there is something qualitatively different about publishing the photos of Kate Middleton’s breasts. We live in a rape culture which objectifies women’s bodies as fucktoys. Prince Harry’s photos were celebrated as evidence of his cheekiness. Kate Middleton is already been blamed for having the temerity of taking off her shirt in private [and this thread on Mumsnet is disgraceful. Such vicious victim-blaming horseshit]. Publishing nude photos of a woman without their consent just reinforces the very specific gendered vulnerability of women. It just demonstrates how little value women really have in rape culture.
The people who take these images are perpetuating rape culture.
The magazines which publish these photos are perpetuating rape culture.
The people who buy these celebrity magazines are perpetuating rape culture.
The people who google these images are perpetuating rape culture.
The people who think it’s part of being a celebrity are perpetuating rape culture.
Kate Middleton married a man. She didn’t sign up to be sexually assaulted. Her wedding vows did not include the end to her privacy. The person who took the photo should be prosecuted. The magazine that published the photo should be prosecuted.
As much as I dislike the Royal Family, I hope they sue.